National GOP frets over Sen. Hagan’s strong numbers, Thom Tillis skips session for D.C. fundraiser, watchdog group calls McCrory ‘one of the worst,’ #NCGA Senate Republicans antsy to end session, U.S. Senate Republicans no-show on Voting Rights Act hearing, Marco Rubio stumbles on immigration reform, Rick Perry to sign sweeping anti-choice legislation into law today
The Hill: GOP struggles for traction in pivotal North Carolina Senate race
Republicans activists are growing nervous about the party’s chances of upsetting North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D), a prime GOP target in a seat that could decide control of the Senate in 2015. The current Republican front-runner, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, is trailing Hagan in polling, despite the incumbent senator’s mediocre approval ratings in the GOP-leaning state. Tillis has endured an uneven start to his campaign while other potential Republican candidates have also struggled to gain traction.
Politico: North Carolina Senate race: Kay Hagan widens lead over GOP
With a relatively even approval rating — 43 percent of voters approving of Hagan’s job to 45 percent disapproving — PPP attributed Hagan’s widening lead to dissatisfaction with the North Carolina Legislature. A PPP poll released earlier this week found only 20 percent of those surveyed approved of the job the General Assembly was doing.
Slate: Surge of Right-Wing Legislation in North Carolina Not Helping the GOP Win a Senate Seat, Surprisingly
The back story, conveniently, is told in other PPP polls on the state’s solidly Republican legislature. It’s rushing through decades’ worth of conservative bills that had been put on hold when Democrats ran the state, and it’s doing so in an occasionally gormless way—most recently, attaching an ominbus abortion and clinic regulation bill to a motorcycle safety bill. "Eighty percent [of voters] think it’s inappropriate to combine abortion legislation with bills about motorcycle safety or Sharia Law," wrote PPP in its last poll analysis.
The Hill: Dem Poll: Hagan leads challengers by double digits in North Carolina
North Carolina state Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) trails by 10 points, former Ambassador Jim Cain (R) and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) trail by 13 points, and Rev. Mark Harris (R) trails by 14 points. Hagan pulls 49 percent support in each matchup.
DOME: Thom Tillis skips session to attend U.S. Senate fundraisers in Washington
Democrats jumped on Tillis’ absence. “Once again, Speaker Thom Tillis is putting his political career ahead of working for North Carolina,” said Ben Ray, a N.C. Democratic Party spokesman. “North Carolinians want leaders focused on creating jobs and growing the economy, not skipping town and missing votes to hold campaign meetings in while their colleagues continue to work.”
WRAL: Tillis’ DC Trip provokes grumbles from Democrats, senators
"Instead of doing his job, Tillis was in Washington, D.C., meeting with groups he hopes will bankroll his Senate campaign," read an email from the North Carolina Democratic Party. More interestingly, a few senators speaking on background grumbled that Tillis’ absence – and focus outside of the legislative building – has been getting in the way of shutting down the session. Later in the day, as the Senate session wrapped up, Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, loudly declared on the Senate floor that his members were "sick of the House."
News and Observer: Three major Tillis campaign donors get seats on UNC Board of Governors
The contributions raise more questions about whether donations to the Republican candidate’s bid are connected to legislation in the chamber he controls. They also highlight Tillis’ ability to raise money when other lawmakers are limited in soliciting campaign contributions.
WRAL: Watchdog group names McCrory ‘one of the worst’
"Before Gov. Pat McCrory takes any action, he ponders the question, ‘What would Art Pope do?’ and, undoubtedly, then calls the real power behind the governor’s chair just to be sure he isn’t stepping out of line,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. “By making Art Pope the unelected and unaccountable leader of North Carolina, Gov. McCrory earned his title as one of the worst governors in America.”
Fayetteville Observer: Black colleges write NC governor about concerns
The letter says the schools have an impact of about $1.4 billion and employ about 19,000 people. North Carolina has the largest block of historically black colleges and universities in the country. About 221,000 students attend the schools in North Carolina.
DOME: Carton: Pat McCrory as a long-nosed Pinocchio
Gov. Pat McCrory is depicted as a long-nosed Pinocchio for his statements on abortion and taxes in the latest editorial cartoon from the Charlotte Observer’s Kevin Siers.
Charlotte Observer: Why this tax cut is an opportunity wasted
House and Senate Republicans voted Tuesday for a bundle of tax cuts, totaling $2.4 billion over the next five years. McCrory called it “not just a tax cut here and there but meaningful tax reform, historic tax reform.” In fact, it is just a tax cut here and there. And there. And there. It is not historic tax reform.
Greensboro News & Record: NC lawmakers look to session end after tax deal
With a tax overhaul heading to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk, Senate Republicans want to hurry along legislative activity with an eye toward adjourning the six-month-long session. But House counterparts aren’t in as big a rush to do it. Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson and Senate Rules Committee chairman, announced from the floor Wednesday that debate for some bills would occur during a rare Saturday session. A frustrated Apodaca said later he hoped that House Republicans would stay around too and press ahead to end the session with summer now in full swing.
DOME: By one vote, Cowell’s bill for pension investment flexibility survives
The 14-13 vote reflects the ardent opposition from the State Employees Association of North Carolina, which is concerned about the risk of moving into alternative investments and opposes Cowell’s sole management of the retirement fund.
DOME: Voter ID/election law bills possible Thursday
Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca says it’s possible bills on voter ID and elections law changes will roll out tomorrow morning at 10.
POLITICO: Many Republicans no-shows on VRA
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were mostly no-shows at Wednesday’s high-profile hearing on restoring a portion of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court last month. The Republicans chalked up their absence to scheduling confusion.
The Hill: Labor secretary nominee narrowly survives Senate vote
“Tom Perez has a long history of public service,” Cardin said. “He is a good person who is in public service for the right reasons. … As Secretary of Labor he will use that position to provide the balance we need in our commercial communities … so everyone can benefit from our great economy.”
Huffington Post: Senate Filibuster Deal An Embarrassment for Mitch McConnell
"The key point is that [McConnell] backed off all of his other demands yesterday and again today and said he’d give us everyone [all the nominees] as long as Reid agreed not to go nuclear this Congress," another Democratic aide said. "Reid refused twice. At the end, that was his single, solitary demand and he didn’t get it." "He left empty-handed and has just been completely humiliated by his own caucus," said another aide.
POLITICO: Bill Clinton: Harry Reid ‘worked magic’
Reid negotiated a deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with the help of Sen. John McCain, Tuesday toavoid the “nuclear option”of changing the Senate rules on filibustering. The deal will allow votes on several stalled nominations to go forward, including Richard Cordray, who was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Obama in brief remarks Wednesday also thanked Reid for his leadership in securing the deal.
Politico: Behind the Curtain: Marco Rubio stumbles
Rubio spent six months working over Senate Republicans only to get stiffed by 70 percent of them. He has gone underground on the issue ever since, ducking reporters on Capitol Hill.
Politico: Senate immigration gang targets House Republicans
It’s not too often that you hear about Republicans and Democrats privately discussing targeting each other to support legislation, but it’s clear that senators see their comprehensive immigration reform effort hitting stiff resistance in the House. McCain suggested to the group that they’re losing the messaging battle to immigration opponents.
Politico: Texas abortion restrictions: Rick Perry to sign Thursday
Perry plans to sign the legislation at a ceremony Thursday morning. It will require abortion clinic doctors to have hospital admitting privileges, restrict abortions to surgical centers, dictate when abortion-inducing drugs can be taken and ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Only five of Texas’ 42 abortion clinics currently meet the new requirements.
Huffington Post: Nancy Pelosi Speaks Out On Texas Abortion Law
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke out on Texas’ controversial abortion law, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that measures like the one in Texas put the "discretion of a woman to make judgments" at risk. In an interview set to air Thursday, Pelosi, noting that she is a Catholic mother of five, said such measures ignore how reproductive rights are critical to women’s health.
Politico: Baldwin: You decide if 2014 is 2010
“You get to decide whether 2014 is like 2010: another midterm election when young people stay home and Democrats don’t show up,” the Wisconsin Democrat told a room full of young progressives. “Or whether we’ll prove that we are ready to fight, fight for our progressive values.”
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party